Dhaka Bureau Policy Times : The Senior Officials’ Committee (SOC) Meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) was virtually held on 11 December 2020. State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, Mr. Md. Shahriar Alam, MP led Bangladesh delegation to the CICA SOC Meeting. The Director General (Regional Organizations) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka facilitated the participation of the Bangladesh State Minister in the Meeting virtually hosted by the CICA Secretariat. The Meeting was participated by the Deputy Foreign Ministers/ State Ministers, and other senior officials of the 27 CICA Member States. The Meeting was chaired by the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Mr. Shahrat Nuryshev.
The virtual Meeting started off with the adoption of the Agenda. The Executive Director of the CICA Secretariat Ambassador Kairat Sarybay presented and discussed the report on implementation of CICA Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and activities since last meeting of SOC held in 17-20 December 2019 in Chongqing City, China. The regional situation shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic was then discussed with focus on application of the experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic to further develop the multilateral cooperation. The Kazakhtan, the current CICA chair announced the introduction of a new Confidence Building Measure “Epidemiological safety, public health and pharmaceuticals”. The SOC tasked the CICA Secretariat to circulate the updated concept paper on introduction of new CBM “Epidemiological safety, public health and pharmaceuticals” to the CICA Catalogue of CBMs and agreed adoption of this CBM through silence procedure by December 25, 2020.
The Executive Director of the CICA Secretariat Ambassador Kairat Sarybay delivered a presentation of the CICA draft Plan of Confidence Building Measures for 2021. Bangladesh is coordinating country for implementing the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in ‘Information Technology’ and ‘Environment’ within the CICA framework. Bangladesh has recently forwarded its plan of activities in both CBMs – 01 (one) IT event, and 04 (four) events/programs on ecology/environment- which were duly reflected in the presentation of the CICA draft Plan of Confidence Building Measures for 2021. The SOC approved the CICA Plan of Confidence Building Measures for 2021. The SOC also approved the Budget of CICA Secretariat for 2021.
Regarding the Concept Paper on introduction of new confidence building measure “Traditional medicine” to the Human dimension of CICA, presented by the People’s Republic of China in the CICA Special Working Group (SWG) Meeting held on 09 December 2020, which was represented from Bangladesh side by Director General (Regional Organizations) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka, the Senior Officials Committee (SOC) tasked the CICA Secretariat to compile the inputs of CICA Member States on the initiative and circulate the updated Concept Paper by 30 January 2021.
The SOC noted the requirement of secondment of more diplomats to the Secretariat, in order to internationalize the Secretariat. The SOC also encouraged demonstrating the maximum flexibility in approving the secondment of diplomats by the Member States.
The SOC discussed the issue of a more suitable title for Members of Professional Personnel of the CICA Secretariat, and agreed to change the current title with the titles of three categories as ‘Associate Officer’ – the level of Attaché and Third Secretary, ‘Officer’ – the level of Second Secretary and ‘Senior Officer’ – the level of First Secretary and Counsellor. SOC tasked the CICA Secretariat to replace the old title with new ones in relevant CICA documents and circulate among the Member States for approval through silence procedure by January 30, 2021.
The SOC agreed to hold the next meetings of SWG and SOC dedicated to review the status of implementation of CBMs in the first half of 2021. The exact dates and modalities/venue will be communicated through the CICA Secretariat in due course.